New immunotherapy cancer treatment given the green light on the NHS


Date: 29.01.2021

Around 100 patients a year in England will be among the first in the world to get cutting-edge cancer treatment on the NHS after regulators approved the use of a new immunotherapy treatment.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has given the green light to a personalised cancer treatment that could offer a lifeline for elderly patients with a form of lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

It comes as the manufacturers, NHS England and NICE have agreed a deal to allow the treatment to be used at a confidential discounted prices while the NHS collects data for further assessment on its impact for patients by NICE.

The treatment will be available to clinicians across England from Tuesday and is a form of CAR-T cell therapy to fight cancer. This is where patients white blood cells are taken away and genetically modified, or trained, to recognise and kill cancer cells when they are put back into the patient.  

The treatment, Tecartus, will be available to people with relapsing or refractory mantle cell lymphoma who have previously been treated with a drug called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, such as ibrutinib.

NICE said it estimated around 100 patients in their seventies could benefit from the CAR-T therapy each year.

A confidential deal between NHS England and the manufacturer Kite, a subsidiary of the Gilead pharmaceutical giant, has been agreed giving the NHS a discount on the treatment while data is collected showing whether it can impact patient’s survival.


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